Falling just below his top-four pre-draft ranking in his receiver class, Justin Jefferson was the fifth wideout selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Minnesota used its first pick to fill the void created after they traded Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. FanDuel bookmakers have set Jefferson’s touchdown total at 5.5 with UNDER (-136) as the favorite and OVER (+108) as the underdog. Jefferson is a projected WR2 starter for the Vikings, but will he hit pay dirt at least six times as a rookie?
Meet the Vikings’ Newest Weapon: Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson blossomed as a wide receiver while attending Destrehan High School in Louisiana. After posting 956 receiving yards and nine touchdowns during his senior season, Jefferson committed to LSU in 2017. He followed in the footsteps of his brothers Jordan (quarterback) and Rickey (defensive back), who also played for LSU. Jefferson had a quiet freshman season as he appeared in seven games and didn’t record any receiving stats.
As the primary target during Joe Burrow's first season with LSU, Jefferson led the team in receptions (54), receiving yards (875), and touchdowns (6) over 13 games as a sophomore. A big part of the Tigers’ run to the 2020 CFP National Championship title, Jefferson was one of the top receivers in the nation during his junior season. He had eight games with over 100 receiving yards and finished with 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns over 15 starts.
Minnesota Vikings Offense
Minnesota finished in the middle of the pack offense, with 353.5 total yards per game, and eighth overall with 25.4 points per game last season. The Vikings pass offense dragged the numbers down some as Minnesota ranked 23rd with 220.2 pass yards per game. Now in Buffalo, Stefon Diggs led the way with 1,130 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Kirk Cousins targeted Diggs 94 times, and Jefferson is in line to receive many of those looks during his rookie season.
Adam Thielen missed six games due to an ankle injury and finished with 418 yards and six scores. Thielen hauled in 204 receptions for 2,649 yards and 13 TD during the previous two seasons. With his injury woes behind him, Thielen will be the Vikings WR1 while Jefferson will assume the WR2 role and newly acquired Tajae Sharpe projects as the WR3. Irv Smith caught 36-of-47 targets as a rookie and has a shot at moving past Kyle Rudolph as the Vikings top tight end.
Running back Dalvin Cook is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will look to build on the 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns he posted last season. The numbers could have been better, but Cook missed 2.5 games down the stretch with a shoulder injury. Alexander Mattison posted 462 rushing yards and four scores in a backup role. With lots of big-game experience in the SEC, Jefferson slides into a good spot and will be a Day 1 starter for the Vikings.
Related NFL Rookie Prop Betting Options
Partly due to a talented draft class, plus the sports world still mostly on lockdown, there are lots of NFL rookie prop betting options available. Jefferson’s 5.5 TD total is tied with Jerry Jeudy (Broncos) and Denzel Mims (Jets) as the most by a rookie. CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys), Henry Ruggs III (Raiders), and Jalen Reagor (Eagles) are next at 4.5 receiving touchdowns. SI gambling analyst Frankie Taddeo suggests betting OVER on Jefferson’s total yards prop.
Many rookie wide receivers have an opportunity to make an immediate contribution during their first season. Jefferson is undoubtedly one of them, as he will produce for the Vikings and fantasy football owners as well. Jefferson is a skilled route-runner, who plays fast and physical, and will be a great target as a slot receiver for Kirk Cousins. Without much wide receiver competition, beyond Thielen, back OVER as the best bet on this prop option.
The Play: OVER 5.5 Receiving Touchdowns (+108)
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